While there, I helped host a party for a group of South African expats, some of whom have been away for more than 15 years. So the inevitable question popped up in conversation: Where is South Africa heading? Boom or gloom?
I pondered a moment - should I give them the glossy, politically correct Brand South Africa version or the politically warped and racially distorted picture painted by Bell Pottinger?
“Well, there’s the good, the bad as well as the ugly. The good news is that when it comes to race relations, we don’t shy away from issues.
“Just look at what happened to that Penny Sparrow woman who made derogatory remarks about black people. And the courts have also banned that racist song Shoot the Boer because it is hurtful, incites harm and promotes hatred.”
Okay, so what’s the bad news?
“Well, the bad news is that the country you once called home is no more. It’s been captured.”
What? Like in a coup?
“Well, sort of. A group of immigrants from India have come here, seduced the president and many government leaders and they now have a stranglehold over the country. They’re so politically connected and influential, they virtually decide who sits in the cabinet.”
Gee, if that’s the bad part, I’m afraid to even imagine what’s ugly.
“Well, some of you may realise that August is Women’s Month in South Africa. A schoolboy was hauled to court after a video surfaced showing a girl pupil being viciously beaten and kicked until she bled.
“A pastor in Durban is charged with human trafficking and the sexual assault of over 30 girls and women in his church. But, even worse, a deputy minister in the country’s cabinet has been accused of assaulting three women at a restaurant.
“If all that can happen in Women’s Month, what are we to expect for the rest of the year?”
My guests looked a bit bewildered.
* The deputy minister referred to has signed resigned.
The Sunday Independent